The NFL season is in the home stretch and I realize the regular season is not over, but I decided to put together my all pro team anyway. By now, we have a pretty good idea of who the best have been so far this season. Here it goes…
*Note: All stats were the numbers prior to week 12
Quarterback – Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Stats: 68.7% completion, 3,146 yards, 22 TDs / 2 Ints
Brady is leading the league in yards and touchdown to interception ratio with an 11-1 picking up right where he left off last year. Brady seems to age like fine wine. He ranks 4th in completion percentage. The other consideration here was Carson Wentz, but Brady is beating him every category statistically except touchdowns where he is three behind. Brady is still the one being chased. Can we just stop ignoring his greatness because it is the norm? He is the MVP this year.
RunningBack – Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Stats: 791 rush yards, 425 receiving yards, 11 Touchdowns
The offense of the Rams starts and ends with the production of Todd Gurley. He is the motor that keeps the Rams running. He is on pace for 1,200 rushing and nearly 700 yards with 17 touchdowns. This year he is every bit of the bell cow that the Rams were hoping he would be.
Wide Receiver – Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Stats: 70 receptions, 1,026 yards, 6 Touchdowns
He is literally the best route runner in the NFL and knows how to get open which is why he is the best receiver in the NFL for the 5th straight season.
Wide Receiver – Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Stats: 62 receptions, 872 yards, 9 Touchdowns
The receiver everyone forgets about. In the words of my friend Andrew, give him anyone but Brock Osweiler and he will make plays. Deshaun Watson goes down, no problem. Tom Savage can get him the ball, just throw it in his vicinity.
Wide Receiver – Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Stats: 62 receptions, 916 yards, 3 Touchdowns
Possibly one of the bigger surprises this year. Thielen is having a fantastic season despite having Sam Bradford and Case Keenum tossing him the rock. Those guys don’t exactly scream WOW. Thielen trails only Antonio Brown in yards. He is a sound route runner and hauls in passes at a high volume of 64%.
Tight End – Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Stats: 45 receptions, 536 yards, 6 Touchdowns
I will admit. Ertz should probably fall behind Travis Kelce and of course Gronk. But I am a bit of a Ertz fanboy. He has been fantastic this season and a massive part of the Eagles passing attack. He eats the middle of the field for them and happens to be Carson Wentz’s (grammatically correct?) security blanket.
Offensive Line – New Orleans Saints
Stats: 12% Stuff Rate, Football Outsiders Run Block Rank (1st), 10 Sacks Given Up, Adj. Sack Rate 3.6%, Pass Block Rank (3rd)
I am not ranking individuals because I am not going to be that fucking asshole who pretends like they know anything about offensive line play. If you are that guy, just do us all a favor and bury your head in the sand. “I really like Marshal Yanda and Tyron Smith.” Yeah? Why? Because of their Madden ratings? Good talk man. Instead, I will select a unit. Saints offensive line is statistically the best as a whole. Everyone is raving about Ingram and Kamara and it starts up front.
Defense End – Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Stats: 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 4 deflections, 2 stuffs, 1 Interception, 1 Touchdown, #1 Ranked DE PFF
Cam Jordan may actually be the most underrated player in the entire NFL. He has been on a bad defense for so long that no one really knows who he is. If he is not getting after the quarterback, he is there in run support. Maybe now that the Saints defense is actually worth something, he may get some recognition.
Defensive Tackle – Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Stats: 6 stuffs, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
He is the best defensive lineman in the league, period. 3-4 or 4-3, inside or outside, it doesn’t matter. Aaron Donald will bully his way to the quarterback and knock him on his ass.
Defensive Tackle – Deforest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers
Stats: 45 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 deflection, 4 stuffs
Like Jordan, if he wasn’t playing for a bad football team, more people would know his name. He is ranked in the top 5 in quarterback pressure and run stops for interior lineman and he is only 23. The niners have a defensive centerpiece to build around for years to come.
Defensive End – Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stats: 11.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
The guy has been in the league for a decade and he is having his best season to date. Part of that comes from playing on a line that features Dante Fowler and Malik Jackson, but nonetheless, he is making the most of that opportunity being a force in the offensive backfield tied for first in sacks.
Outside Linebacker – Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Stats: 34 tackles, 8 sacks
Until he falls off the face of Earth, no way Von Miller doesn’t make an all-pro squad. There is a reason he is getting $70 million guaranteed. He is the best pass rusher in the NFL, period. He is proving that once again as he is once again near the top in sacks.
Inside Linebacker – Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
Stats: 71 tackles, 1 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, 4 deflections, 4 stuffs
He is the best defensive quarterback in the league. His biggest issue is staying healthy as concussions have piled up on him over his career. Nonetheless he has still played in nine games and continues to find the ball and stuff the stat sheet. He is your prototype mike linebacker.
Inside Linebacker – Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Stats: 92 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception, 5 deflections, 7 stuffs
While Luke Kuechly is the 1A, consider Wagner your 1B.
Outside Linebacker – Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Stats: 34 tackles, 10 sacks
Jones just made this year his third season in row tallying double digit sacks. He knows how to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. He is one of the league’s best and as long as he is healthy, he gets a spot.
Cornerback – Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
Stats: 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, 14 deflections
Part of the make up of Jacksonville’s new look is the no fly zone on defense thanks to Ramsey and AJ Bouye. While Bouye has more picks, it comes at the result of being targeted more. Ramsey still has the numbers even the causal fan can see to make him an all-pro. This is the league’s best corner duo and Ramsey is the better of the two. He gets the nod.
Cornerback – Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings
Stats: 29 tackles, 1 interceptions, 5 pass deflections
Another no fly zone in the NFL is any side of the field Xavier Rhodes is on. This guy is as physical as they come and he doesn’t let receivers get behind him. Good luck getting off the press. Call him mr. lockdown. Not many receivers can create separation from Rhodes.
Strong Safety – Micah Hyde, Buffalo Bills
Stats: 47 tackles, 5 interceptions, 8 deflections
What a great signing by the Bills, he and Jordan Poyer are arguably the best safety tandem in the NFL. Thanks to those two patrolling over the top, the Bills have created turnovers in bunches.
Free Safety – Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings
Stats: 53 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 8 deflections, 4 stuffs
Why doesn’t Smith get more recognition? I don’t get it. He is John Lynch 2.0 to me. He is just a do it all safety. He can stuff the run, get to the QB and create turnovers. It helps he has Rhodes locking down one side of the field as well.
Kicker – Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams
Stats: 28/29, 96.6%, 56 long, 31/31 XP
He’s a kicker with the best stats. Not much analysis needed.
Punter – Shane Lechler, Houston Texans
Stats: 57 Punts, 49.5 average, 42.1 net, 68 long
He has been the best punter in the league for a long time. He continues that trend.
Returner – Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles Rams
Stats: 603 kick return yards, 30.2 avg, 146 punt return yards, 10.4 yards per return, 1 TD
Again, numbers alone. Coop is getting it done.
Teams By The Numbers
Los Angeles Rams – 4
Minnesota Vikings – 3
New Orleans Saints – 2
Houston Texans – 2
Jacksonville Jaguars – 2
New England Patriots – 1
Pittsburgh Steelers – 1
Philadelphia Eagles – 1
San Francisco 49ers – 1
Denver Broncos – 1
Carolina Panthers – 1
Seattle Seahawks – 1
Arizona Cardinals – 1
Buffalo Bills – 1